Dear white people

Dear white people,

I’m not sure if what I am going to say is even going to make a difference, as I feel literally everything has been said. I’ve had some interesting interactions with white people on social media recently, so this post isn’t just about the many stories I’m seeing on my Twitter feed or BBC alerts. I must make that clear as one of the many things I have been accused of, is reading things from media outlets that perpetuate a specific point of view. My intention here is to unite us and I realize that there may be times that, that may not be clear, but please keep in mind that is my intention. Please also bear in mind that I use the term white people as they were and are the people in control of said systems discussed below.

Many of the interactions I have had have consisted of points of views meant by white people, to diminish the experience of black and brown people both present day and in the past. In the past, can you imagine that? Over 200 years of the legal slavery of black people, meaning you could own a human being, you know like property. I cannot fathom where any decent human being can break this down the just a mere blemish in our history! There has never been a comparable disgrace in our history and by our, I mean the United States.

That brings me to the next common line I get from white people during interactions of this nature, well the Italians suffered, and the Irish suffered. We’re not taking away the pain and suffering of other people, that never was and never will be our intention.  In fact, I would think support and empathy would come natural given one’s own or someone they cared for experience. This isn’t a battle of who has had it worse and quite frankly even if it was, the past speaks for itself. Why does it always have to result to this? Why can’t there just be the obvious understanding that there has been slavery, there has been systematic suppression of black people, beyond the 240 years of slavery and even after the 13th amendment.

The truth is most races got a 240 + year start. That start included the opportunity to get educated, acquire property, and build wealth for both oneself and their families., let alone have a sense of self-worth that one could pass down to their children and their children’s children etc. I don’t understand how it is not obvious to others that white people got a 240 + year head start, on top of the fact that even when slavery ended, there were systems put in place to continue the suppression of black people and they got away with it. Those means include but are not limited to, voter suppression, education limits that caused programs like affirmative action to be put in place to allow black children the same rights as whites, blacks were kept out of communities and the opportunity to acquire property, then forced to create and live in what we now conveniently call low income areas. I would think I wouldn’t even need to touch on what it took a black man or woman to get a job, let alone a job with equal pay to that of a white man or woman with the same credentials one of many reasons the EEO exists today. Many of these programs which many white people cry give black people leverage over them, were put in place because of white people who could not bear to live in a world where black people had the same opportunities or were equal. Do you not see where we were? We are still here today.

Though we are no longer slaves, or being hung from trees, that doesn’t mean the playing field is equal.  There are unarmed black people dying at incomprehensible rates, present day in 2018, fucking 2018! You don’t think that has to do with a view our civil servants hold? You think this is just some mere coincidence? Some atrocities don’t even call for you having to be black to be sympathetic and understanding, all you must do is be a parent, or just a human being with a damn conscience.

I’m not sure what exactly it will take to get white people, to back this blatant oppression. Let me be clear, that is what I believe it will take to affect change, white people, if that in it of itself doesn’t speak volumes I don’t know what else will. Black people aren’t trying to take anything away from you, we just want an equal playing field, like for real. I will also venture to say reparations wouldn’t hurt but after all this time and still being where we are today that is highly unlikely. It is fucked up that we are still here and that the pain and suffering that generations of black people have suffered isn’t enough. Equate it to a Jewish person walking out of their home and seeing a swastika, it’s inapprehensible, yet we don’t afford blacks the same empathy even though they see swastikas everywhere they turn still, in all areas of their lives. I keep trying to understand how this is tolerable to a human being with a heart, with empathy and with experience of being hurt or abused in any way. We have women for example and that includes white women. Though the reality is that white women risks their positioning with their white men in supporting a cause of this nature. That is a risk, I don’t think most white women are ready to face, hence their impact on the 2016 election. It’s way easier to just go with the flow than to stand for something and take a risk.

I recently had a female acquaintance post about how a black scalper was pressing her to purchase tickets for a comedy show. She kept telling him no and the man said, “it must be nice to have white privilege”. Though I would agree, not necessarily the right place for a comment like that but currently when is it right? It was true, she was a white woman, hence white privilege. She posted about how this person didn’t know her and her struggles and though that very well may be true, it goes both ways. Nevertheless, I was perplexed at how this person who rarely ever post anything remotely political, decided this is the story she wanted to share, but then again, privilege. She happened to end that post with something to the affect that if people only saw love they wouldn’t see themselves as victims. That pushed me over the edge. You must take responsibility over the fact that the only time you decide to post something “political” in nature, is when you feel you’ve been wronged but fail to comment on the multiple injustices occurring in our world every damn day. This infuriated me and led to me commenting in a calm manner like wtf were you thinking? To which I then was critized by a few white people over slavery, the consensus was get over it and we’ve all suffered. It is frankly ignorant and selfish. I cannot feign to understand as white privilege is obviously for whites only, but it must be nice to choose how you get to see the world and not actually engage in the world that is currently existing around you. That is a privilege afforded mostly to white people.

I know a few people of color who don’t speak out about racism, police brutality or any other injustices facing people of color today, but I know what they had for dinner. This boggles my mind, I don’t think one has to be political to give a shit, one only must be human. Some of these people have kids, and I wonder, is that not enough reason for you to take a stand, there is power in numbers. The differences between us and how we choose to react/respond versus ignore and self-preserve, only lead me to one conclusion, ignorance is bliss. That is, until it happens to you or someone you love. But, why wait for that?

What we need right now is more people speaking out and not tolerating in any way shape or form, any racism and risking enough to hold people, all people, even powerful people, accountable. If this truly is not the world you want to live in, I don’t see what would hold you back. We are not asking for only those guilty of racism to speak. We are asking for those who don’t support racism to speak, especially if you’re white. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, people listen when you talk, people see what you do, and they care. No one clearly has listened to all that people of color have said throughout the years. Doing this doesn’t mean you are you directly responsible. However, doing nothing is just capitalizing on a system that listens to you and just tolerates the rest of us.

Acknowledging and understanding how racism works is vital for it to end. Imagine what it is to know that other people see you as a physical threat, inferior or your life of less value simply because of the color of your skin. That a white person can say and do the same thing you do and be heard and valued far more. When there is a lack of understanding the only recourse is to put ourselves in the other shoes. I rack my brain as to why when it comes to black people, is this so difficult to do?

You can start by asking the question, are these ideas/opinions that I have mine? Or could it this just the result of your family, lineage, culture and/or environment? How do you benefit from stating that affirmative action makes white people the oppressed? As if after 240 years of slavery with no reparations and living in a present-day reality where celebrities, CEO’s, your neighbor and even the president, can say and do things that continue to reinforce the system that has been and continues to systematically oppress people of color. How do you benefit from stating there is no more slavery get over it, but see the obvious injustices happening every single day to people of color and think this is just a blip, that there is no affiliation/continuation to the history and treatment of colored people? Black people want to be victims? How would the systematic suppression of our people be something black people want to perpetuate? Do you think Kaepernick kneels and loses a career over keeping his people oppressed? I cannot hear arguments like this anymore because they make no sense at all and it’s honestly just a cop out to acknowledging you’re complicit in this system whether you say so or not.

If that is where you are, I implore you, ask yourself how you ended up there and if you have no answer, then dig. Dig and keep asking yourself questions and study how you interact with others and why? Where do your kneejerk reactions come from? When did you collapse, being a patriot with being against racism and other clear injustices. Or why can’t you understand how affirmative action is menial when you look at the profound social, educational and economic impacts of over 200 years of suppression and domination based on race. Ask and keep asking and ask others to ask themselves until you hear something different. I can’t guarantee you’ll end up in any specific place, but do the work, millions of lives depend on it. My children’s lives depend on it, I beg of you.

Live your truth, not one that has been passed down to you or shoved down your throat by those around you People of color aren’t going anywhere and they’re not trying to take anything from you. However, we do all share the same planet, the same countries and the same towns. What do we really want the future to look like? We can do better than this as a human race. We gain a lot more when we work together.  Yes, we have a ways to go, but every voice make a difference, every one of us has the responsibility to take action in order to be a player in the world we want to create. Own where we are, own the history, and let us build from there. We cannot change the past, but we do get to dictate our future, and all of our futures depend on it.

 

Open letter to the government of the United States of America.

Dear United States Governing body,

I am writing as a gravely concerned citizen, but also as an utterly fed up human being. Your actions and at times of importance, lack thereof, have repeatedly shown, that you truly don’t care about the people of the US and even less about humanity itself.

I am also writing as a single mother of four children, ages 13-25. Three of whom currently attend public school. I am writing as the mother of a gay daughter. I am writing as an Afro-Latina, with four Afro-Latina/Latino children, who before the age of 10, had already experienced discrimination and racism in many forms. I am writing as a first-generation Puerto Rican born in the US, concerned about how the US treats the people of its commonwealth as though they are not US citizens. The inhumane aspect of your lack of action in Puerto Rico, speaks for itself.

I am writing as someone who is tired of both Democrats and Republicans alike. I am writing as someone exhausted by this two-party system that is reminiscent of the civil war every election day. In actuality, not much has changed since that time. This system does not work. I’m tired of being at the mercy of whichever side wins the election and how that will impact our quality of life, our ability to be equal, obtain proper medical care or be seen as someone worthy of the rights stated by our sacred Declaration of Independence and Constitution. I am also writing on behalf of those of us who see us ALL as HUMAN BEINGS occupying the same planet, with the same inalienable rights, regardless of race, sex, religious belief, sexual orientation or country of origin.

First came the Catholic Church, technically the first official governing body, used to keep people in line and under one law and/or God. This church, which from the first century until now, has repeatedly abused the faith of the people and oppressed women. A church that hid for years the sexual abuse of thousands of children. Faith and religion is a personal choice, not one to shove upon people as the accepted and approved way of life. That is not freedom.

I consider myself a spiritual being, who believes in a higher source and in prayer. I do not believe God is a punishing God, I don’t believe in teaching the children of the world, that some people will burn in hell for who they are. I do not believe in a God that separates us as human beings because we’re gay or straight, pro-life or pro-choice, go to church or meditate. These are very personal choices, not ways to run a governing body that is representative of ALL of its people.

Then came your hunger for land and the wars forged in your quest. Valuing property above all and using the Church and its power to your advantage, all in the name of God. Using the structure of the Church and its power to control, rule and invade. You combined the ancient Greek democratic systems, with your God and your thirst for power, to control the masses.

Though you couldn’t keep everyone and everything under one God. People had thoughts, ideas and opinions and so you formed your armies around the world. The Romans, Vikings, France, Portugal and of course at the top of the heap, Spain and Britain. You raped, murdered, enslaved and obliterated Indigenous cultures across the globe, in the name of land, power, money and  yes, white supremacy.

Then came these United States, under the guise of freedom, colonizing as much as they could and seducing citizens into the belief of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. There have been very few of you close to the right side of history and often, they ended up 6 feet under quickly.

In 1870, the 15th amendment was passed, stating that the right to vote cannot be denied based on race, however states caused voter suppression via voting taxes and literacy tests for blacks. In 1876 the supreme court ruled that native Americans were not legal citizens and cannot vote, even though they are the rightful owners of this land. Lincoln passed the 13th amendment in 1864, Women obtained the right to vote in 1920 and African Americans in 1965, isn’t that something. Everything has always been on your time and for your benefit. It’s a seducing way to make it seem to the public that things are shifting, when in actuality, they are not.

Keeping women and minorities decades behind, gave you a big advantage US (white males), the biggest head start of all head starts. While the nation was embroiled in Civil rights, human rights and WWII, you slowly shoved capitalism down our throats.

You backdoor let the mob into politics, whether the actual mob back in the day or our current day mobs/lobbyists like the NRA. The war on drugs, just another set up to give the oppressed and disadvantaged what they need to destroy themselves.

Capitalism, your own systematic way to keep the money and power where you want it, with the whites, whom you’ve decided should have the power. Not much different than Hitler, deducing who the superior race is. By the 1900’s, the US was predominantly a nation of immigrants, you know, the ones you’re trying to get rid of today. Those immigrants and slaves built the nation as you expanded West. Thanks Adam Smith for laissez-faire economics, which America embraced wholeheartedly, every man for himself.  Even Britain at this point had learned something from history.

I see Fidel Castro as a perfect example. Fascinating how you worked so hard to make that man look like the devil, because he stood for everything America didn’t. Everyone having access to basic necessities like education and healthcare. I’m not saying Fidel was an angle, yes he executed those thought to be traitors. However, lets not forget the multiple assassination attempts on his life by your secret service. The US has blood on its hands too, a lot more if we keep it real. The embargo on Cuba because of their human rights violations, is hysterical. You were trading with other countries who were violating human rights left and right. You hated the fact that Cuba refused to be colonized. You couldn’t stand the thought of a potential thriving Socialist economy, so you destroyed them, much like Panama and Venezuela, the list is long. You destroy via infiltrating, inciting chaos, disorder and even installing your own opponent to whatever regime. All  through quiet and sneaky back door tactics. Inciting riots and protests in countries where you have a vested interest. I mean, hello, you still have a colony (Puerto Rico), at least when it serves you.

The seductive idea of free enterprise is a pile of bullshit, a rigged system that is not meant for all to survive, it’s a set up. Present day, children in low income neighborhoods do not have access to the same level of healthcare, education or even clean drinking water. Our first black president didn’t stand a chance of making a difference, you made sure of that. Yet here we are, present day, with a literal circus show happening in your beloved “White” house and not a muscle moved. Future name change suggested by the way, White house needs to go.

Our children are being slaughtered at the hands of your flat-out refusal to tighten gun control laws, because, well, you’re making money from it and that’s always been the priority.

Black and Brown lives are lost daily at the hands of your police, who trained by you and your laws, do not see each American citizen as having the same rights. No big deal though, right? White supremacists rally, burn down churches and even shoot up schools but that’s normal.

Suicide rates in LGBTQ community rise, citizens everywhere denied services based on sexual orientation. Isn’t this like Equal Employment Opportunity act?  So, we can work anywhere, but not receive services anywhere? I don’t know man, this is all sounding a lot like low key slavery to me.

Take your God out of the government that was meant to govern all people who practice all faiths, let’s start there. I’m tired of every political party, really, I am. However, the biggest difference between the liberal left and the right, is that the left isn’t shoving their beliefs down the rights throats. The liberal belief system practices that we are all entitled to live the lives of our choosing. The right wants to shove their conservative views down our throats and make them law. They want to change abortion laws, recognize religious rights which is no different than recognizing white supremacy, and that is not inclusive, it’s divisive and let’s be real, that’s exactly what you want. It’s what you’ve always wanted, and it’s always served your ultimate purpose, total Social, financial and political dominance over the people of the world.

Here’s your problem, you ultimately created a democracy and a democracy in literal terms is a government by the people, especially rule of the majority. The supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly through free elections. Well elections are another issue as the US government has done everything in its power to enact voter suppression. The electoral college system must change. As a nation, we’ve lost all credibility. This is a nation built on suppression and before we can truly affect change, we must acknowledge that. We must all be on equal footing and white supremacy must be obliterated and seen no different than terrorism. We live on stolen lands, built by slaves and on the corpses of the erasure of an indigenous population. Honoring this and this countries repeated oppression of women and how that has also had a tremendous impact on the road the US has inevitably found itself on is paramount. Can you admit that, own it, whether you were alive or not, it doesn’t matter. This is our history, and we are doomed to repeat it, lest we learn from it.

Enough is enough. As does any problem, the first way to address it, is to acknowledge its existence, and as a country we have not done that.  For the sake of our children, the future generations, I implore you to do so. Based on recent events, if you don’t, I gather we will be facing something quite like a civil war soon. The worst thing that could happen is people resorting to violence to protect themselves and those they love, but it will happen, as history has shown. Wake up, if the number of lives that are at stake isn’t enough, which seems to be the case, maybe the reputation of your precious nation is reason enough? If enough people resist, the fall of the US government is inevitable, it has happened before, all over the world, it can and will happen here, if nothing is done. Listen to the indigenous people, listen to minority women. They have something you don’t, honor, a reverence for the earth, people and a natural feminine energy that vibrates nurturance, inclusiveness and a connection to something greater than us all. This is the only hope this country has.

Our Revolution

I sit here inundated with news and happenings all over the world and one thing is certain, we are on the verge of a global civil war. Everywhere I turn there is unrest amongst the people, of varying degrees and different reasons of course, but unrest nonetheless. I have personally been focused on what’s happening here in America. It’s been more of the same for the most part, unjust brutality and killings of black men/women, our justice system continues to fail people of color and our government is continuously cutting funding on things like EPA, DOE, Medicare and Medicaid and putting the money into war, big pharma and wall street. Things are looking dire and I must be honest here, I don’t think voting Democrats into office in November is going to change things all that much. Maybe I’m being a tad pessimistic, but let’s look at history here. In fact many have put policies in place during their term in office that have led to some of the large issues we are facing today ie; mass incarceration.  Neither of the last two Democratic presidents have done that much for the above apart from Obamacare.

Yes, I have utterly lost my faith in our democratic system. We’ve had two major elections where the electoral college process has come in to question, why hasn’t anyone tried to work on this? I just finished reading the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights and all amendments. My thoughts, ok great, so we’ve got a foundation to work with. Just from a technological and scientific perspective, there are vast differences where we are today, I mean light years.  These processes must be amended/ratified and reviewed periodically to reflect the changing times and needs. We have some of the greatest minds in the world in this country, let’s use them. Not just use them for Nuclear arms races or to beat other world leaders at technological and scientific advancements and discoveries, but to care for humanity. The governed are not only whites anymore so let’s just start there, for all intents and purposes.

The President of the US is openly criticizing our justice system, FBI and CIA. I understand this isn’t the first time this has happened but c’mon, Kennedy had every reason and turns out he was right! Then of course later paid the price, as all good men do. At the rate GOP leaders are leaving Congress, I’m starting to think there is a lot we the people who put these people in office do not know and how can we properly choose without accurate knowledge? There is not enough transparency in government, not that there ever was, but at the rate in which the gap between the elite and the poor increases, we cannot afford to let this continue. I personally don’t give two shits about who the President is fucking. I do care about the heinous tax bill they just passed that screwed the majority of working Americans. I do care about the people of the world, I do care about how taxpayers money is being spent, I do care about offices like the EPA, DOE, DOJ, Department of Housing and Urban Development, US Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Human Services and VA, getting what is needed to take care of our people, our children and our lands. How can we be a world leader when there a still people in Flint, Michigan without access to clean drinking water? There truly is no reason for this, unless you take into consideration that most of the people in Flint are poor and people of color.

I watch the news and I feel as if the state of this country has been turned into the latest season of the Kardashians. This is not just because of the endless drama, but because we are literally watching this every single day and doing not a damn thing about it. I’ve spent the last two weeks taking a hiatus on the news and watching documentaries and reading about US history, WWI and WWII. Why, because history does repeat itself and I think we are exactly on the verge of that happening. The President just finished closing a deal with Kuwait and Boeing Co. Is that the President’s job? To close a major arms deal for the second largest defense contractor? Not even the things we do on our computers and phones is private anymore. This is a level read threat to our freedom as people everywhere we turn. What is happening and why are we doing nothing but watching it all like it’s a fucking soap opera? You don’t have to have kids to give a fuck about the future of not only the US, but the world. We are crippling as a nation and as a people and I for one will not sit back and just watch this happen. I don’t have an answer, but I am hearing the call. It’s not enough to post on social media, it’s not enough to march, it’s not enough to protest and dammit I’m going to say it, it’s not enough to vote. We need to change the system and I for one, would prefer to not have to wait for a war for that to happen. I don’t have an answer, but as the Declaration of Independence states “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Time to get this started.

The current state of my pissed off psyche/the world.

You know that feeling when sometimes you wonder if you’re alone in this thing? That feeling you get when you hear the latest political drama, or about someone else who has been diagnosed with Cancer or passed away? That bottomless pit of emptiness, the utter feeling of despair and feeling of complete uselessness. I’ve been there many times and my most recent voyage was just a few weeks ago. I sunk into the despair of, what is the point of this life if we are not serving others or serving some higher purpose? I know there are those of you who can relate. I compare it to the feeling of unrequited love, which I’ve also had the unfortunate experience of recently. It’s like loving someone, seeing something no one else can see, whether in that person or in your union with that person. Being willing to give someone literally everything that makes you the amazing human being you are. Then having that person turn around and make you feel like you’re an idiot, that damn crazy woman. Where you blind? Where you dumb? Where you wanting to see something that wasn’t there? It’s the worst, very few things on the planet can fuck you up like that. I blame it on culture and society but whatever, either way, we’ve all been there and done that and been left with the what now feeling in the pit of our stomach.

Wanting to change the world or feel like you’re not living the life you’re meant to, feels very similar. Waking up every day and just going through the motions with no sense of fulfillment or purpose. It can be excruciatingly painful, it can make you question your sanity and even as many people I both know and have heard of, your will to live. Things are rapidly deteriorating on so many levels all around us, and though there are so many amazing people up to amazing things, when we walk out of our doors, what I see everywhere are people concerned with mere survival, financial success, the next big move they can brag about to their friends and family. There is nothing wrong with that, but it bothers me personally. People are dying, women are losing their rights, racism is louder than ever in my lifetime. Doesn’t everyone else see the world is on literal fire? I know I’m not alone, and I’m not claiming to be alone in this at all. Where is the revolution? Why do I constantly feel this push that there is much more I/we can be doing?  Where is the we are not doing this anymore outrage, not just from politicians and celebrities but everyday people just like the Parkland students. I considered making a YouTube video this week urging us all to just stop. Stop going to work, stop shopping, stop going to school, just stop the world. What would happen?  I know there would be several concerns etc… but shit, all revolutions have to start somewhere, and I don’t think there is any better way to collapse a structure that no longer serves the people. Of course when I think of what peoples reactions would be to this, it’s scary.  Though what else is there to do? Wait for the next election? Screw that, we all know damn well that isn’t going to fix much, especially at the rate things are deteriorating.

I personally think our elders, like those way, way back… had it right. Living off the land, listening to the starts and the moon. Simple, humble and grateful. I personally am yearning for that. I’m talking to the Universe right now. Rather I’m screaming at it. I talk to the moon all the time, I ask for guidance, I ask for strength and I ask for the courage to do what I’m called to do every single fucking day. I want to impact the world, but for right now, I can impact one person at a time and honestly, I’ve been doing that for quite some time now. I must often remind myself that matters too and to do the best we can with what we’ve got. Even if it doesn’t feel like enough.

I wasn’t going to post this until after what I discovered this evening, so please excuse any grammatical errors, I currently don’t give a shit about grammar. All I cared about was letting this out. Today I found out a very successful restaurant in my neighborhood, is currently paying some of their illegal workers $50 per week. The rest of this employees pay is tips. Literally every curse word in the book and then fuck you that the elite don’t benefit off illegal immigration. Let me leave it at this. If just illegal immigrants were to do what I suggested above, stop working, stop paying bills etc.. The nation would be at a standstill. Be well all.

Why I was so afraid of dating white men and what happened after I did.

Ever since I started noticing boys which was probably around 4th grade, I had this feeling that white boys were not an option for me. No one had ever literally said that to me, it was a notion that I had clearly inherited, it’s not just our looks that we inherit unfortunately. Either way, that’s just how it was for me, I simply excluded them. I started to notice in grade school how I gravitated toward only black and Hispanic boys. It just seemed to me this is just naturally how it “should” be.

Though, before I go further let me point a few other things out. I am an afro Latina, with very fair light skin and green eyes and in my family, I am one of only two light skinned women.  It never really occurred to me what that meant to either myself or the outside world until one moment in 7th grade. I lived in a predominantly black and Hispanic community. I spoke Spanish, I loved Spanish and fried foods, R&B, Hip Hop, Salsa and everything about my rich culture and my people. This was how I was raised. I never thought that I could be perceived as anything different than that. Let me say this is something I struggle with even today, I’m aware of the privilege my light skin gives me, and I struggle between wishing I looked more like my people and owning all of who I am, especially in this moment in time.

In 6th grade I had a crush, he was black, and he was beautiful. He was smart, funny and had a great smile. We talked and one day waiting for the bus outside school we kissed, just a tap kiss. Nevertheless, shortly after that we began “dating”, which at that time meant, holding hands, eating lunch together and walking me to the bus. One morning I remember getting off the bus at school and hearing that some girls wanted to fight me. I couldn’t imagine who or why. Later that afternoon I found out from my best friend, that a few black girls whom I wasn’t exactly friends with were pissed because I was dating this boy. I racked my brain trying to figure out what the issue was and soon realized they didn’t see me as I saw myself. I talked this out with my friend who is black, and though she didn’t feel that way. She was able to understand their position. Now I will not assume to know how they felt because the truth is, it was never discussed. I called my mom from school and she came to school and essentially threatened everyone and well nothing ever came of it, though I was left impacted for life.

After this incident, I began to question who I was, was I a fake, did I just acclimate to my surroundings etc.… An existential crisis at 10, and with parents who had no clue on how to have a real discussion with me about any of this. So, what I did was I chose to claim who I believed I was, I kept dating this boy and I didn’t let what other opinions were on the matter affect my choice. However, they did deeply affect my self-identity. Living in a household of chaos and where my needs were at the bottom of the list, I was left to explore and define this on my own.

As stated, I claimed who I was, and I also realized that I lived in a world that was not ready for such an exclamation or lack of excuses. This had me look at everything, I began questioning what I liked, disliked, all my choices. Now though I knew who I was, it didn’t change the fact that what they saw was a light skinned girl with light eyes and not the Indigenous girl I am. Or if they were also indigenous, they saw a light skinned privileged girl.  I was constantly stepping outside the boundaries of others and having to deal with the impact of that, just by existing. So, that’s where the fear of dating a white boy originated. I started to read books and magazines. I watched every movie I could find. What I came away with was as Anita told Maria in West Side Story, “stick to your own kind”. That was my safest bet. I began studying everyone and everything around me. I saw our cultural differences and the assumed views our cultures had of one another. It was traumatizing, and it was sad. Based on what I had been told, seen, read, and experienced, I came to the following conclusion. White men dip into the Latina/Black pool for few reasons. 1. To experiment, 2. We’re thought to be slutty and sexually promiscuous 3. We are the women to have on the side. My response to this was a quick fast get the hell out of here. That’s when I officially made the decision for myself, no white boys for me and I stuck to it. Stuck to it I did, at least until after my divorce from my Puerto Rican husband. Hey, trauma changes people.

I had a mild flirtation going on with a white business associate I often crossed paths with at work. He was handsome, accomplished, and he was white. We never crossed any lines until a few years later when he got wind that I was divorced and to my surprise so was he.  After a few phone calls about life after divorce, kids etc. he asked me out, I was terrified, but I said yes. Every single fear I had developed and some new ones, came up. To be completely honest, deep down inside, I never really thought I would be any more than a good lay and a good time. I eventually said fuck it, I met my fear head on and went for it and we had a great time. Our first date was a blast, great conversation, great food, a night of dancing and laughing and yes, we spent the night together, but to be fair I had known him for over 5 years at this point, we were pretty good friends (still making excuses for myself). For the next 6-9 months we dated and had a great time. We had some similarities and many differences, but we had a great friendship and amazing chemistry. Our relationship deepened, and we bonded over our mutual experience as single parents and starting over after failed marriages. It was great, and I fell in love, as did he. I recall one of our last days together, after making love, he told me I really thought you were the one. Our last night together went like this; he had called me, he said hearing my voice made him want to see me immediately. He drove over an hour to see me close to the middle of the night. He came over, we talked, we laughed, and we made love and that was the end.  Less than a year later he was in a serious relationship with a single, never married Italian woman with no children. Someone he could proudly bring home to meet mom and dad.

I knew why he ended it and I confronted him about it, but he denied it. We had come to the point in our relationship where as he said, he thought I was the one. So, what would have been the logical next step be? Introducing me to his family and eventually his children.  I believe, I didn’t fit the model for a traditional Sicilian Roman Catholic family, because I am Spanish, divorced single mom. Not an Italian, divorced single mom which I assume would have eased the burden a bit. I never did get him to admit it to me, but I didn’t have to because I just knew. I knew he loved me and I knew the block had nothing to do with how he felt for me personally. It was heartbreaking, I didn’t go into a deep depression about it, but I was present to the things that divide us as human beings. The fears of letting down our families, of upholding standards that we didn’t create, to doing the “right” thing for the external perception versus following our hearts or beliefs. This was a sad state indeed and such a downright depressing way to live life.

Eventually I got over him and over it. I did end up dating another white man after him, but I kept it cool and detached, zero emotions. We are friends to this day. This experience did not leave me opposed to dating white men in the least, though I would be lying, especially in this current social climate if I said I wouldn’t hesitate. I would hesitate, but I wouldn’t let it stop me. After all, these are made-up barriers and inherited ideals we must outgrow if we are to evolve. Of course, there are people evolving everywhere all the time, but I can only speak of my own experience and it is still something I struggle with and see others struggle with too.

This conversation hasn’t gone away for me, but I’m aware of it and I know it’s not real. However, that still has not changed the fact that I know I am not always perceived by others as I am. I must work to shut off the voices that are constantly screaming at me which stereotypes society has boxed me into today, which varies depending on who I am in front of. In front of a white man/woman who knows I’m an afro Latina, I show up as one thing. In front of a black man/woman I show up as another and so on and so on…  This really does get exhausting, but even through my personal fears, inherited voices and self-deprecation, I go on. I talk about this stuff with friends and clients all the time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so it will take some time for us to get to the place where we see one another as human being to human being. I have hope, and I believe that we are working on breaking stereotypes and the boxes we put people in before even really knowing them.

This works both ways, all ways in fact. As a parent, I especially believe this is an important teaching, one that I’ve discussed with my children, whom have already had their own experiences regarding the color of their skin and their heritage. Of course, we can’t change everyone’s perception, but we can create change one being at a time. Right now, that is the best we’ve got.